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AllBuffs.com - Covering CU-Boulder Athletics

Buffzone: Frida Formann pursuing excellence with CU Buffs women’s basketball

Years ago, while growing up in Denmark, Frida Formann was playing basketball with her older brother when the topic of shooting fundamentals came up.

Brian Howell
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Buffzone: Football: Pieces in place for CU Buffs to have strong rushing attack

Throughout the 2023 football season, the Colorado Buffaloes struggled to run the football.

Brian Howell
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Ralphie Report: Colorado Buffaloes face Utah Utes in tournament bubble bash

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Utah

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s game in Boulder is the ultimate battle to stay within the tournament picture

At first glance, Colorado’s home matchup with Utah on Saturday evening seems innocuous. The Buffs sit in fifth place in the Pac-12 standings, while the Utes sit at seventh. Neither team has really impressed on the national stage, nor gotten much attention from the national media.

Both squads have had relatively frustrating 2024 campaigns, but tonight’s contest at the CU Event Center is one of the most pivotal games of the season for these two teams. The Buffs and Utes enter Saturday’s game on the bubble and desperately need to come away with a win stay within the tournament picture.

Utah is listed in ESPN’s first four out, while Colorado is right behind them in the next four out. Both teams are clinging onto their tournament hopes for dear life, and one of them is going to get their hopes crushed in Boulder. Whichever team wins this game is going to get a significant boost to their tournament resume, while the loser may have their tournament hopes gutted.

Because of the sheer importance of this game for both teams, emotions will likely be running high in Boulder. However, there’s another reason that things could get a bit scrappy on Saturday: current Utah and former Colorado center Lawson Lovering.

Lovering started at the five for the Buffs last season and things didn’t go as planned, as he struggled offensively. Tad Boyle and his staff gave Lovering immense leeway and opportunity to learn how to succeed at the college level, starting him 34 times in 2023 despite his struggles, which made his decision to transfer to Utah at seasons end even more frustrating for Colorado fans. Lovering’s defection to Salt Lake City left many fans wondering what went wrong in Boulder and if there’s any beef between the two parties.

Lovering will play an important role off Utah’s bench against the Buffs in Boulder, as he’s been averaging around 12 minutes per game in the last month. Colorado fans aren’t known for being a very forgiving bunch, so they’ll likely let the former Buff hear it every time he hits the floor.

As for how the Buffs and Utes stack up against each other, both teams are remarkably similar on paper. The Buffs rank third in the Pac-12 in average points per game (80.31), while Utah is right behind them in fourth place (78.24). The story is pretty much the same for scoring defense, as Colorado is ranked fifth in average points allowed (72.65) and Utah is ranked sixth (72.85). Both teams are also relatively turnover prone and strong off the boards.

Since the two teams are so similar in many categories, Saturday is going to come down a couple of deciding factors. The first of which is Colorado’s three-point shooting. The Buffs enter today’s game as the Pac-12’s leader in three-point FG percentage, while Utah sits as the ninth best team in three-point defense. There’s a clear and glaring discrepancy there that Colorado is going to need to exploit in order to walk away with a win. If the Buffs can abuse Utah’s lax perimeter defense to build up a sizable lead with the three-ball, they have an easy path to victory.

The other big factor in this game is mitigating turnovers. The Buffs have the eleventh worst turnover margin in the Pac-12, while the Utes sit just one spot behind them in tenth place. Despite both teams being extremely prone to turning the ball over, somebody has to win the turnover battle. Whatever team can take better care of the ball is going to have a clear edge, but only time will tell which side that will be. Essentially, whatever team screws up less if going to come out on top.

In action, we’ve already seen how these two teams match up against each other. The Utes bested Colorado in Salt Lake City 73-68 in January in a slow-paced duel. The Buffs were without Luke O’Brien and Cody Williams in that contest, so that additional offensive firepower that those two bring should make a massive difference in their rematch. A Buffaloes team at full health playing in Boulder should be able to control the pace and force the Utes to play their style of basketball.

Vegas thinks that the Buffs will come out of top, favoring the home team by a spread of 6.5 points. If Colorado can win, their hopes of going dancing are alive and well. If they lose, things are going to be looking bleak. Saturday’s game is an absolute must win for Colorado and they need to make the most of it. Fans can tune into the game tonight on the Pac-12 Network at 7:00 pm local.

by RylandScholes
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Ralphie Report: JuJu Watkins too much in Buffaloes loss to USC Trojans

NCAA Womens Basketball: UCLA at Southern California

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffs couldn’t contain the freshman phenom.

The 11th ranked Colorado Buffaloes lost their third straight game on Friday night, this time to the 7th ranked USC Trojans in Los Angeles.

While Colorado was recently outmuscled by Oregon State and Utah in low-scoring matches, this was a high-scoring affair where the Buffs did everything they could to keep up with a hot shooting opponent.

It’s not often Colorado shoots 57% from the field and 53% from three and loses, but that’s what happened in the Galen Center. USC was absurdly efficient, as they shot 56% from the field, 68% from three on nineteen attempts (!) and made 24 of 25 free throws.

Colorado did everything they could to stop freshman star JuJu Watkins. JR Payne sent everyone at Watkins and tried to get the ball out of her hands. That worked well last time — the Buffs held her to 20 points on 22 shots — but that swarming defense left a lot of open shooters.

This time, JuJu got her buckets, made 18/18 shots from the line and her teammates made those open shots. McKenzie Forbes and Kayla Padilla combined for 36 points (and 9 assists) on 9/11 three-point shooting. Maybe the Buffs could have figured out a different scheme, but there’s little chance of winning any game where the other team is that hot.

Colorado did well to keep up. Jaylyn Sherrod ran a well-balanced offense, pushing the pace and getting everyone touches. Aaronnette Vonleh carried the offense early through her low post mastery, while Kindyll Wetta, Quay Miller and the bench mob all hit their shots.

Next up for the Buffs is a road game against the UCLA Bruins on Monday night. Colorado will look to avenge their previous loss to UCLA to remain a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament — meaning they will host tournament games in Boulder.

by Sam Metivier
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Buffzone: Game day notes: Top-four Pac-12 finish still within reach for CU Buffs

Officially, the Colorado men’s basketball team isn’t eliminated from the chase for the Pac-12 Conference regular season crown.

Pat Rooney
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